tv NOW With Alex Wagner MSNBC March 15, 2013 9:00am-10:00am PDT
>> joining me today, "washington post" columnist and msnbc contributor, jonathan capehart. editor of the new republic, franklin ford. political white house reporter, carry rudolph brown and buzz beat editor in chief, ben. >> for a moment this morning you might have thought the republican party had finally reached the thing that seems to have eluded them for so very long, the modern era. ohio senator rob portman, once a shoe-in for mitt romney's vp slot came out in favor of gay marriage. >> i'm announcing today a change of heart. on an issue that you know a lot of people feel strongly about. and it has to do with gay couples, opportunity to marry. my son came to jane, my wife and i, told us that he was gay. and that it was not a choice. and that you know, he, that's just part of who he is and he had been that way ever since he could remember.
>> what was your reaction when he told you? >> love, support. >> was the gop finally knocking on the door of the 21st century? and, as purveyors of trickle-down everything, with this new-found tolerance trick down to the rest of the party. a party that lost gay americans last year by a margin of 53 points. if cpac is any indication, probably not. >> we cannot hope to limit government if we do not stand up for the core civil society institutions, beginning with marriage. >> just that i believe states should have the right to define marriage in a traditional way does not make me a bigot. >> senator rubio a happy to espouse the marriage equality, notably absent from his speech was immigration. donald trump did not shy away from the topic this morning. >> when it comes to immigration, you know that the 11 million
illegals even if given the right to vote, you know you're going to have to do what's right. but the fact is, 11 million people will be voting democratic. why aren't we letting people in from europe? i have many friends, many, many friends, and nobody wants to talk this. nobody wants to say it. >> it is unclear whether the donald's push to encourage quote european immigration will assist the party that lost latino voters in 2012 by a margin of 44 points. with the conference nearly half over, the ideas laboratory that is cpac seems yet to have birthed any great new thinking, despite the fact that the affordable care act is law of the land and being enacted in over 20 states, conservatives can't seem to let it go. >> this law is a disaster. >> anybody who thinks we've moved beyond it is dead wrong. obama care should be repealed,
root and branch. >> and i want you to know, we're not backing down from this fight. >> so if americans are clinging to any hope that the rest of cpac might result in triumph of thought or reason or anything new, our best advice would be -- do not hold your breath. rick santorum is about to speak, mitt romney is due up in an hour and sarah palin will take the stage tomorrow with one of the longest speaking slots at conference, joining us from washington now is former rnc chairman, was your head hung in shame just now? msnbc political analyst michael steele. >> were you literally just grabbing at your brow, like how can it be that sarah palin has gotten one of the longest speaking slots, chairman? >> no, you came to me just as i was sneezing. >> oh. never mind. let's open it up to the panel. i'm kidding. but chairman, look this morning i think a lot of people who are for marriage equality, who think
that gay rights are a civil right were very happy to see rob portman, a powerful person in the republican party come out and say ha he did. then you have to couple that with what's being said at cpac and it's like can this party not usher in the 21st century together? >> well, at the moment, no. and, but i think that my friend rob portman did a very, very important thing. he was very honest and he spoke to a truth that a lot of folks inside the gop just don't want to acknowledge. that these things are personal. they are, they are family based, and those families work these things out for themselves. and as rob said, you know, his son came to him two years ago and they had this conversation, they've been on the journey together and he's come to this revelation, this realization, this important step with his family. and as a policy maker, he now recognizes the impact of the decisions that he makes on people. and that's what, that's what this process should be about. the problem we have is we oftentime close ourselves off to
that part of the conversation, we not a religious party, we're a political party and we are a party that has always been rooted in self-expression and individualism that is now been clouded over since the 1980s by this, this holier-than-thou imaginism that's taken off -- >> isn't that holier-than-though thou majorityism saying that they deserve the right to marry in freedom? >> those are individual decisions, and, yes, the party can have a view on that, i guess. but to be doctor is part of the dangers that the party faces right now, doctrineaire. we have a generation, a lot of
those young conservatives in that hall, i think if you were to poll them individually, you would probably be surprised at where they stand on lot of these issues baurks a lot of those folks are very libertarian in their view. i think the party needs to catch up to where they are. as we move into this 21st century. >> jonathan, the thing that seems to have changed a lot of conservative minds is the person-to-person interaction. do we effectively need to place a gay son in every republican household? is that what it's going to take? and if so, are you able to help do that? >> that's what it seems like. the reaction to senator portman's coming out for gay marriage has been interesting. on my twitter feed there ra a lot of progressives out there saying yeah, it's great that he's done this. but why does it take someone in his own family to get him to show some empathy? i understand where they're coming from. but as michael said, i think you said it, you know, portman is a big deal in the republican party. he's, he's, he's part of the establishment, he's been in the house, he was omb director -- >> he was going to be the vice
president if romney won the white house, theoretically, it remains to be -- to be discussed and determined whether this, the fact that portman had a gay son in any way affected his chances to be vp? >> he's probably very happy he dodged that bullet. but the thing, the thing to keep in mind here, is that what, senator portman has done, is sort of like say to the party, especially now that cpac is going on, that you must face this issue and you must take this seriously. you know, i keep talking about this poll. that logo did with harris interactive. basically showed that if the republican party had the same positions or similar positions, on marriage equality or gay rights, as president obama and the democrats, president obama admitny would have been tied for the gay vote. their gay votes on the table, if the party were only open, warm, welcoming, as welcoming as bob portman was and is to his own son.
>> what i would say probably there are votes of women and -- >> other americans -- >> would say, oh, the party isn't as far right on the social issue that i care about as i thought it was. buzz feed has an exclusive and a very choice quote from the man who just drops these quotes like golden eggs. he is a, he is veritable hen of -- i'm mixing my metaphors. but frost or freeze coming up to buzz feed yesterday. saying i've said before, the number one thing that we have to work on is protect the number one thing we have to work on is protecting the gay community from sharia law. now i read this to one great, foster freeze is for gay rights. he understands that gays in america on the global stage face threats that much of the rest of the world don't or other communities don't. but the sharia law piece? >> i think a lot of conservatives are looking for a way to get from where they are,
to being pro gay and foster freeze's case, brother-in-law's gay, by account very warm, longstanding relationship with him and his partner. he did not really have a way to square his support for rick santorum. i think people are complicate, for conservatives one way to get from, you know, common enemies is a way to get from where you are to where you're going and islamists are certainly a common enemy. >> just throw sharia law in there. >> that's real thing. gay rights issues here. in iran they hang gays, right? there are some common enemies there. and i think, i don't think the gay rights movement has really embraced this particular alliance. but, but there -- >> but it's, on the other side, sometimes it's a contradiction inside among supporters of gay rights who are reluctant to criticize the regimes internationally. it's a complicated story. foster freeze, looking for a little common ground there. >> the enemy of my enemy is my gay brother-in-law.
senator, i almost called you senator, chairman steele, it's friday and i have my titles wrong. but i want to talk to you about the other star of your party, marco rubio, who did not mention immigration at all. and left that mantle to the inimitable donald trump. and unspoken advocatory for white immigration to this country, european immigration. >> for his russian oligarch friends and the judges he knows in monaco. >> ha does it mean that marco rubio did not talk about his signature issue? >> curious. i don't know, and i don't understand why. i thought that that would have been the perfect opportunity to frame the argument going forward. to bring the base, the core, the activists to the table on the signature issue that he is crafting and working with the democrats in the senate, and the white house. to put before the nation. part of the immigration issue
within the gop is that you have a bifurcated process, the leadership is moving in one direction and the other is base is sitting there going what are you doing? so there has not been this connection made to bring the base into the discussion in a way to avoid all the crazy noise and sound bytes that feed the media frenzy, and further characterize caricature the gop. and that's been part of the problem. so i don't know what marco was thinking, i think it was a missed opportunity by him. and i thought that you know, his saying that we don't need, we don't need to do anything new stood in stark contrast, to rand paul. who said, yeah, we need to do a whole lot of things new. so you can see almost see the establishment versus this new energy that rand paul is tapping into. taking hold and we'll see how it plays out. >> kerry, what do you think that signals, as far as comprehensive immigration reform? there's been a lot of discussion about i mean there's a sense that this is the moment it could happen. but then you look at, nate
silver had a breakdown of how many house republicans have 10%, 20% of latinos in their district. these are guys that have proven time and time again that they will vote for self versus party or national agenda and the fact that rubio backs down in that crowd, is that a bellweather for what's to come? >> i think it's a warning, it's a caution sign for democrats and republicans such as john mccain who are really hoping that this signals something. marco rubio that signals this is a break through for the fact that he didn't mention it. shows a certain level of discomfort or hesitation of bringing it up in a crowd where he knows there are people there who do not agree with the idea of comprehensive immigration reform. this is a marco rubio is a guy who within the white house, they are obsessed with marco rubio's moves for the very fact that he's viewed as a very credible messenger for republicans on immigration, democrats fear him. republicans know that he's very good at talking about this issue and the fact that he didn't
bring it up in that forum just as michael steele said, it could have, it was a missed opportunity. >> especially since the cpac, the cpac audience is a mixed bag. he's not talking to the house raucous caucus of republicans. as the chairman points out, it is a way to try and at least get the troops on board. >> what's discouraging about it is he's trying to do two things right now. one he's running for president. and the second, he's trying to legislate. and the cpac is all about running for president. but it is not an encouraging sign that he doesn't view his immigration strategy, at least as somewhat tethered to his presidential hopes. because you would think that just playing the long game, that you need to prime the base for the fact that you're going to be out there pushing, you're going to be the signature face of a major immigration initiative. you want to give them at least some warning. >> and running in the republican primary and running against hillary clinton, i think cpac is the primary and the immigration is the general.
>> but he's, if he's going to do immigration to run against hillary clinton he's going to be taking hits and lumps in the republican primary and better to acknowledge that up front than to sand bag people later on. >> i don't know, chairman before we go, i'm not convinced that cpac ends up being good for the party in the long-term. because prior to this, you know, there was, there was some thinking that the party was really doing some time on the psychiatrist couch and thinking seriously about the direction they need to go. and then you have, look you have the guys trotting out these same old stories about cutting taxes for the wealthy is going to people on the south side of chicago, which is a paraphrase of what rand paul said. you have mitch mcconnell speaking the ills of the affordable care act, which is passed law of the land. you have people coming out against marriage equality, that doesn't seem to be particularly good for a party that as i said, seems to want to knock on the door of the 21st century. >> i agree. and i think that coming out of
the cpac and listening to the reports and seeing some of the conversation and talking to folks who are there. the mood is very different. it's not as exuberant, it's almost down a little bit. there's not this kind of energy there, because the fire is not there. and it's not being brought by the very names that we've talked about on the show today. so you know, maybe tomorrow with sarah palin's appearance, that, that changes us, a different kind of ignition to turn on. we'll see. i think the message coming out of this cpac is a very muddled one. i think there's some great opportunities lost, but the greatest for me was not inviting chris christie and bob mcdonald. both very, very important governors, right now. on the political landscape. >> do you have any time for dond trump though, man? >> i got that and donald trump had his time, 15 minutes, wonderful, but in a three-day conference in a three-day conference, if you really want to frame the future of the republican party, it rests not necessarily with the folks that you saw parade through today,
but more importantly with the folks who were not invited. and i think that that to me is the most stunning tale coming out of this cpac. >> jeb bush's name is not one of the 23 on the cpac's straw poll list. michael steele, i knew it was a somber sort of tone over there in conservative circles, because you're wearing a black shirt with a gray tie and a dark black suit. it's almost funeral. i was hoping today might have been one of those bright red ho ho hey red numbers, but no such luck. >> this is this is my ho ho no! >> thank you as always to chairman michael steele. >> all right. >> after the break, the history books have yet to be written but the conventional wisdom already says that the pivotal moment in the 2012 race was mitt romney's 47% video. we will talk with the man who singlehandedly changed the race, scott proudy, when he joins the panel next on "now." we're here! we're going to the park! [ gina ] oh hey, dan!
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corporations are people, my friend. we can raise taxes, of course they are. everything corporations earn ultimately earn goes to people. >> i should tell my story. i'm also unemployed. >> i'm not concerned about the very moore, we have a safety net there. if it needs repair, i'll fix it we will hear from the democrat party, the plight of the poor. and there's no question, it's not good being poor. >> i like being able to provide people that provide services to me. >> mitt romney proved remarkably adept at publicly putting his
foot in his own mouth. but it was a private fundser that did the most damage. >> there are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. there are 47% of the people that believe that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. that's an entitlement. and the government should give it to them. and they will vote for this president, no matter what. >> scott proudy is the man behind the video and joins us now, scott, i feel like there's been a veritable parade of rose petals in vabs offer your appearance. >> thank you, i saved the best for last, this is my last tv appearance. >> scott, it's great to have on the show. we have many questions for you. the first question is when you made this video. were you concerned about the
subject of income inequality, where the republican had been at. or was this more about the man, mitt romney and what he had been saying? >> when i made the video, i really i had no preconceived notion of what was going to be said. but when i heard it, then you know, the frankly, the idea that he would go by the sweatshop in china that's what really angered me the most. >> he, you're talking about the moment in the speech when he says he's gone to visit a factory in china and speaks of deplorable working conditions. >> and had a good feeling. >> and tries to spin that as look at these, these, the barbed wire fences that keep these workers in. that's because they want to be there. and other people, they're trying to keep the rabble rousers out, peemt that want a piece of that pie. >> it was absurd. the whole tape, there was individual parts that were just one was worse than the next and the next. there was a lot of different parts that were probably offensive to different people in all different ways. >> he managed to actually hit many different pieces of the electorate in that one speech. what i want to know, i think a
lot has been done to vilify mitt romney for saying what he said. but at the end of the day, there was a room full of people that were eating their steaks and drinking their wine and clinking their glasses and agreeing with this. what was it like inside that room? >> i was looking for ugly faces in the room that were kind of appalled and i didn't see too many. maybe a couple people i worked with had same gut reaction i did. but as far as the people that were there, i was expecting, when he said some of this stuff, i couldn't believe he was saying it. and i was scanning the room and i didn't see any reaction whatsoever. >> were you a bartender. >> yeah. >> and you were working the room. and we were told you didn't have health insurance. which is interesting, given mitt romney's shifting stance on health care. i want to play some sound from an appearance he made on jay leno earlier that year, talking about people with preexisting conditions and access to health care. >> people with preexisting conditions, as long as they've been insured before, they're going to be able to continue to
have insurance. >> well suppose they were never insured before? >> if they're 45 years old and they show up and say i want insurance because i've got a heart disease, it's like, hey, guys, we can't play the game like that you've got to get insurance when you're well and if you get ill, you're going to be covered. >> hey, guys, we can't play the game like that. if you don't have health insurance, you lose? what are we supposed to glean from all that? is that something that was on your mind? >> i have a preexisting condition. i was diagnosed with a genetic blood disease when i was about 30 years old and they denied me for health care coverage. and so i mean i have an idea of what it takes and what people go through, you know when that happens to you and you're out of luck. you know -- i don't think he gets that and i don't think he -- hey, it's not a game for these people with a heart condition. when they're 45, that's not a game. for those people. >> that they would sort of be rolling the device because they wanted to -- >> it's fun not to go to the doctor. >> right.
exactly. >> given that this is such a momentous moment in the course of the campaign and therefore american history, i propose a reenactment -- i'm just like, i'm curious, mechanically, like did you, was there a moment, were you watching the speech and then you just heard something that triggered you. or did you know you were going to record it from the start and how the hell did you do it? were you sitting there like this? i mean i need to give some tips to some of my cub reporters about how to -- >> you want to use -- >> canon power shot and it was on the bar, open, just like this and reenactment, i just pressed record. i started when he started talking. i just pressed record. it wasn't i didn't, i knew i was going to record it. you know, i brought the camera so maybe we could take pictures with him at the end. when he started talking, i just -- >> that was it. >> could you talk to any of your fellow wait staff, bartenders, about what you had done? or not what had you just done,
but what romney had just said. >> a few of us got together and said, i'm not going to say what they were saying. we kind of had the same gut reaction that i can't believe this guy. >> did you plan to sort of use it against him when you hit play? or -- >> i thought, honestly i thought it was going to be an hour worth of boring. i really did. i had no idea, i thought that i would show it to one or two people and that was it, it was curiosity, i was 20 feet away from a guy who had 50% chance of being the president. >> scott we know you were an independent before this all happened. to some degree the republican party has said we've got to change the way we communicate with people. we've got to change our messaging, reach out more. on a substantive fashion, i'm not sure they feel any differently about the access to health care. given the rhetoric coming out at cpac. or the dog whistles about the takers versus the makers. i wonder how all of this has affected you and what you think of when you think about american politics and whether you're still an independent.
>> i think i am an independent. i guess you know, i think it's kind of divide and conquer. it's always about percentages, these people versus these people. those divisive social issues that they bring up so much. i think people are starting to see that. i've seen through that i don't think it's good for america to be dividing by classes, i think it's the 1% versus everybody else and i think those people are the ones that have control at the top. >> if you look at the statistics, i mean we talk a lot on this show about income disparity and i will use this moment to do that again. 93% of income gains in 2010 went to the top 1%. 50% of the jobs in this country, frank, pay less than 33,000 a year. 25% of the jobs pay less than $22,000 of year. the federal poverty line for a family of four is right around there. we talk about the recovery and the surging markets. that it's really about cutting
top marginal tax rates, you look at the numbers, and it is, we're in a crisis right now. >> we are. and it's stunning how little our political system is equipped to address this crisis in any sort of way. that i think obama cares about inequality and he signaled that he's going to make this an important part of his legacy. and a lot of what he's fighting against would exacerbate inequality in a lot of what he's trying to do will improve it on the margins of health care reform. it's an important measure to counter some of this. but still, given, given the heft and weight of the problem, it's just amazing how little attention it gets. >> and the conversation is about cutting the deficit and how we're going to reform entitlement programs at a period of disproportionate end times need. >> exactly. >> i don't want to gloss over other incredibly choice nuggets in this video. because we've talked about the
47%. lest we forget this is the same video where mitt romney said on immigration, we make it hard for people to come here. unless you have no skill or experience, in which case you're welcome to cross the border and stay here for the rest of your life. because nobody that comes here illegally is in any way skilled or would contribute to the american economy. >> to the american economy, which you know, defies our, our entire history. i mean the thing that's so stunning about the 47% comment, that comment, the if i were a mexican comment that he made -- >> the comment that if his dad had been mexican he'd have a better shot of winning this. >> when your tape came out, i was so shaken by it, i was talking about it for, it came out late in the afternoon. i kept talking about it for hours trying to wrap my head around how was it possible that a person running for president of the united states -- leave aside in public -- in private, speak that way about a country he hoped to lead. and it spoke to me anyway and clearly to you as well, that
this mitt romney has, has this mindset that has him high above everyone else. in a way that made him, i think unpalatable to lots of people. and your video just was like, the boom, that's it. that's enough for me. for a lot of people. >> scott, in the fix, in the "washington post" shawn sullivan has a great analysis, it's like must be tedious it hear all of these people endlessly praise you. but this i think really hits. this is why what you've done is bigger than just one campaign and one candidate. he writes, what proudy showed is that in one sense, the high wall that campaigns put up can also be bypassed, and that is something that campaign strategists must be aware of in the future. whatever kashl or cautious meant before, it must mean something new in 2014, 2016 and beyond. because the next scott prouty could be impossible to identify in advance. if you want to be authentic, you
have to be authentic. >> maybe you have to say what you mean. >> exactly. >> in presidential politics, if you're somebody really different behind closed doors from the one you're presenting, that usually does come out there was an incredibly dramatic version of that. >> scott, awesome and thank you so much. >> can i say one last word? >> please, take it away. >> the reason i'm here in public today was to shine some light on charlie carnagan's work, institute for global and labor rights, and that was the goal of me coming out and this will be the last tv interview i do. but if i could just shine a little bit of light on the work he does for 20 years, that's mission accomplished for me. >> is that going to be in terms of your next step? are you going to be more involved with him? >> leo girard announced on television last night he offered me job. i'm heading to washington after this and we'll see where it goes. >> that means, my friend this is not your last television appearance. but maybe in this capacity. it's great to have you. >> thank you so much. coming up cpac keynoter,
in 1994, presidents ronald reagan, gerald ford and jimmy carter sent a letter to all house members endorsing an assault weapons ban. they also presented a radical notion -- that the legislation wouldn't stop all assault weapon-related crime, but it was a start. can the current congress put pragmatism ahead of ideology? we'll discuss, next.
but nra's nearly five million members and americans 100 million gun owners will not back down, not ever. i promise you that. >> that was the face of the nra himself, wayne lapierre just in the last hour at cpac. lapierre may continue to be immovable. but washington seems to be moving forward on the issue of gun safety. yesterday, three months to the day after the shooting at sandy hook elementary school, the senate judiciary committee voted narrowly in favor of the controversial ban on assault weapons, a vote on the floor of the senate could happen as early as next week. the proposal bans 157 different firearms and ammunition magazines carrying more than ten rounds. but the vote yesterday was anything but civil. fiery freshman senator ted cruz took a few minutes to lecture four-term senator diane feinstein on the constitution. >> it seems to me that all of us
should begin as our foundational document, with the constitution. and the second amendment in the bill of rights provides that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. and the question that i would pose to the senior senator from california is, would she deem it consistent with the bill of rights, for congress to engage in the same endeavor that we are contemplating doing with the second amendment, in the context of the first or fourth amendment. >> let me just make a couple of points in response. one, i'm not a sixth grader. senator, i've been on this committee for 20 years. i was a mayor for nine years. i walked in, i saw people shot. i've looked at bodies that have been shot with these weapons. >> ted cruz's ill-informed grandstanding didn't stop the committee from approving the measure, but it did underscore the challenge of passing an assault weapons ban. the senate judiciary committee approved three other gun control bills, one concerning background checks, gun trafficking and
school security. but their fate now lies in the hands of senate majority leader, harry reid, given the obstructionism and bitter partisanship in congress, the future for comprehensive gun safety is uncertain at best. kerry, experts on all things washington. not that our whole panel isn't. but you know, the senate democrats are going to be the ones to look to as far as all of this. we know that there are several nra a-rated democrats a few of whom are up for re-election. max baucus, kay hagen, tim warner. haas your read on any kind of comprehensive reform laws getting through congress. >> i think the person to watch is joe mansion. in the process of trying to come up with a background check bill that will pass the senate and he has mark kirk, republican, on his side. but the problem with mark kirk is he's affiliated with the nra. >> an a-plus an f, make a c.
he's f-rated. >> still not good enough for the red state democrats and the nra. mark baggage told joe mansion accordle to some of my colleagues, i like what you're trying to do, but you have to get a couple of a-rated republicans on board before i will sign on to a background check bill. so that's the sort of the political game right now in washington is having one republican isn't enough. it can't just be a republican, it has to be an a-rated republican with the nra and it's proving hard to find. there's a handful of targets. bad choice of words, there's a handful of people who could be, flake, mccain, graham, they've all said i'm not comfortable with this right now. and it's hard to see with a background check, where this is going. >> in this sort of congressional horse trading, often what happens in health care you make deals with the groups for the least-bad option and the insurance industry and or pharmaceutical industry will come to the table. the nra won't play that way. they make it totally clear that
any kind of compromise they will go after. they will go after a senator who comes near it. >> this is, when i was on your show a couple of months ago -- i think everybody at the table thought well, it's kind of a gimie that we'll get some sort of background check. and that you know, the assault weapons stuff, you know, that's unlikely. it's unlikely to happen. but this is just a political slam-dunk and it's not. it's not, it doth sound like it's going to happen. it sounds like -- >> where does that leave us? the president in the state of the union said they deserve a vote. i thought that was a very powerful moment in the state of the union. and doesn't it deserve also to pass? something needs to come of, it can't just be a vote. >> and i you know, just reflecting on the bigger picture. immigration reform we just talked about a minute ago looks like it's kind of stalled a bit. the most basic background. so what's the president left with? here? he's -- >> drug trafficking is still believed to be a possibility but -- >> gun trafficking, let's be
fair. there's two different kinds of gun violence we're talking about here. there's the aurora and newtown style massacre and then there's also the number of people who have just been killed in gun-related deaths in cities like chicago, gun trafficking is supposed to address some of that. jonathan, this is all, this intrance jens and pessimism comes at a time when the polling shows that the public overwhelmingly wants something to be done. 83% of the country supports background checks for private and gun show sales. 56% support assault weapons ban. so what gives? >> i mean there's a huge disconnect between the american people and the people the american people send to washington to legislate on their behalf. i mean how can someone who is in congress say no to at least voting on or you know, voting in favor of any of these things when they know that this is what
the american people want? when the whole nation was horrified by what happened in newtown? we could talk about districts that have been so gerrymandered to the point where members of congress can just look at those polls and say, i don't give a dam. because i can survive -- >> we're talking about moderate democrats here, right? that need cover, that need cover from john mccain and lindsay graham. i mean that's where i don't get it. is that just because the power, of the power of the nra? on that note, given how involved bloomberg was on former representative jesse jackson's seat, is there any sense that other people may come to the quote-unquote rescue, coffers wise if they suffer at hands of the nra? >> i think with a lot of the red state democrats, it's baucus who represents montana, baggage, alaska, it's they fall back on the culture of their state and what they think a majority of their constituents want. >> and bloomberg was a very unusual situation. we were able to go on a special
election democratic primary in chicago. i mean that's a place where you can certainly, there's for somebody pro nra that's incredibly anomalous, that's not going to happen a lot. >> you know, frank, i we talk about the second amendment, you saw ted cruz lecturing diane feinstein, we didn't get to talk about whether ted cruz needs to lean back in a major way, diane feinstein, nobody at home could see this, but jonathan capehart was doing crouching tiger moves because diane feinstein was just that angry. >> i thought leopard. >> your big cat of choice. what did you make of that exchange between the two of them? >> i mean ted cruz is playing it perfectly. this is, he's, this is what's turned him into an idol of the tea party is that he is just, he's decided that whatever the conventions of the senate are, whatever they say about bon homie and getting along, he'll go in the other direction and if
he's going to tick off all of his colleagues in the process, it doesn't matter. >> not just -- all of them. not just democrats. >> there's a sense that he's not made a lot of friends among both republicans and democrats in the senate because of the way he's conducted himself. >> there was a question very early on, leading hispanic, he is going to be marco rubio's ally. he came right, alienated rubio immediately. i think that's the relationship that is totally poisoned. and if rubio is the leader of his party, which is quite likely in a couple of years, i think that's something cruz has positioned himself as the outlier. >> how effective can you be, by making enemies like that? >> i will say, i will say -- go ahead, carrie. >> that may not be his impetus, he may be following the jim demint model. you have a big megaphone. you speak for the right. when you can't get anything done, you go to a think tank. >> i'm not ready to nail the
last nail in the coffin in the part of congress that is still semi functioning in a place where deals are made it would be sad if ted cruz is the new normal. i with will say he's canadian this is as far as he can get in our elected government. >> i think he test pudisputes that. >> he's a constitutionalist in all matters but his own candidacy for president. coming up, lawmakers were both sides of the aisle are raising rabble over the future of the keystone xl pipeline. while the president plans to use offshore oil cash to fund energy reform. we'll examine the administration's mixed messaging on the client. climate. what's droid-endurance ?
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president obama is in chicago where he will visit the argan national library. he is expected to use an energy trust fund. ben, how long is it before we hear the word, solyndra? >> i think that conservatives and republicans have convinced themselves that alternative energy in general is a scam. >> yes, it's all actually going to the pockets of obama supporters. >> and when the government is going to be giving out $2 billion. i pet there are a lot of people lining up to give money to obama's campaign who might want some of these contracts.
this is a big amount of money. it's a big push for obama on an issue he's not done very much of. >> you're thinking about where the president will go on that? >> i think this is, what's happening today is emblematic is how downscale he's become in his energy agenda, it's a big amount of money, he's not going to get it. it's very extraordinarily unlikely. climate change legislation is not going anywhere in this congress. and this is where he is trying to reaappropriate money and it will be difficult. >> he had a meeting with congressional democrats yesterday. henry waxman would not let him get out of the room without answering questions about climate change. >> good for him. i think when people go in to meet with obama in private, he talks about what he wants to do. he always goes back to climate change. and i think he -- but and he does have the immense power of the regulatory state.
which he -- >> which he has used. >> which he will continue to use. >> that seems to be, jonathan, if nothing gets done on immigration, it will be sort of figuring out how to use executive power any which way he can in the next couple of years, because it doesn't seem like the house will play ball. >> or the house will play ball, the senate will play ball. congress won't play ball. so the president will have to nibble around the edges on just about every policy that he wants to try to get accomplished. >> unless something changes, let's not shut the door to possibility. it's friday, thank you to my wonderful friday panel. are we going to do the big cat? >> i can do it. >> show america the big cat. jonathan capehart, the big cat. >> ha. >> frank, carrie and ben, thank you. i'll see you on monday.
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